Health insurer Aetna wants to promote health by subsidizing the cost of an Apple Watch for customers who agree to enter wellness plans.
For Apple, this is a major win considering that it just got an important health care backer on its side. With its fitness-oriented Apple Watch, Apple can promote a healthier lifestyle — and Aetna wants to help.
Aetna says it plans to subsidize Apple Watch so that its customers can use the smartwatch with new apps to manage care and medication use, as well as promote wellness. The health insurer will start offering Apple Watches to some of its biggest customers this fall and expand the effort later on.
"Beginning this fall, Aetna will make Apple Watch available to select large employers and individual customers during open enrollment season, and Aetna will be the first major health care company to subsidize a significant portion of the Apple Watch cost, offering monthly payroll deductions to make covering the remaining cost easier," says the health insurance company.
Aetna did not say just how much of the cost it will subsidize, but any amount is welcome considering that the Apple Watch costs nearly $400. And that's not for the highest-end version. With the subsidies, customers will be able to get part of the cost covered by Aetna and pay the rest in monthly installments deducted from their payroll.
The associated applications will remind users when to take their meds, order refills, go to health checkups, get insurance information and more. The apps will also work on iPhones and iPads and will be able to link to Apple Wallet for payments.
In addition to this Apple Watch customer program, Aetna will also provide Apple's smartwatch to all of its employees completely for free. This means that all 50,000 Aetna employees will be getting an Apple Watch as part of the company's new wellness program, encouraging them to lead healthier lives.
Apple, for its part, has been making efforts to play a bigger role in health care and promote health overall, and the new Apple Watch subsidies from Aetna may be of great help in this aspect.
The Apple Watch is definitely not the most accessible smartwatch on the market, but a subsidized price would make it more affordable to a wider pool of customers.
The subsidized Apple Watch initiative will kick off this year, but the iOS-exclusive health apps will not be available until 2017.